When I envision "perfect networking", the word reciprocity comes to mind. Business networking is about forming relationships that lead to benefits immediately or down the line. These benefits can include any number of positive outcomes.
In order for great business networking to be demonstrated, one has to be willing to give and the other to receive. Through time, these roles switch and the giver becomes the receiver. It is actually fantastic when this is done with sincerity- When one person offers something of value and expects nothing in return.
Perfect business however, usually ends up with both parties involved in a transaction receiving something of benefit. One party spends their money and in return they receive the desired product or service. The seller, of course, receives the financial compensation.
That's basic business but networking has some extra levels added. When we network effectively, one person typically gives something first. In other words, the first giver initiates the process and whether the receiver returns the favor at a later time, is due to decision and circumstance.
It's good however, when building relationships that will help your career, to be the first giver when you can. Below, are 3 ways to give before receiving when networking;
1. Give them something free from your company.
So, you have just met a good candidate to be a lifelong contact. You really do not know where this business relationship can go but it's always good to have an open mind and foster positivity regardless. A good way to do this is to offer a part of your service or a product free of charge. This has a few benefits;
A. You are giving something of value to a new associate. Of course, you should give something that you honestly feel they will value.
B. You are giving a mini promotion to your product or service. This helps you to stay at the top of the mind of your new associate.
C. You are performing a good gesture. Sincere generosity is an amicable trait.
2. Give them an endorsement.
Giving a person a good endorsement is a sure way to help them look good. When you give a person a good endorsement, the people who trust your word can now view this person in a trusting light. This is a good idea within reason.
You should learn a bit more about an individual before co-signing on them as reputable. It does not take that long to do brief research but you should not be overly adamant within the endorsement. In other words, do not overdo it but speak kindly.
3. Give referrals.
Lastly, you must use your judgment wisely but offering a referral is the ultimate in giving. When you offer a referral, you could very well be giving someone a client for life. The value that a referral holds is priceless. At the end of the day, reciprocity will unfold and you'll find that giving first can be a valuable activity.
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